A fleet management company lives or dies by efficiency. Understanding maintenance, services, routes, storage, and budgets is just the beginning. A good fleet management company must also anticipate and plan for changes, keep up on training, and adopt new capabilities, such as ADA compliance. It’s a lot to ask for – so where should companies begin when they’re looking to improve? Here are several best practices that are an excellent place to start.
General Compliance Tracking
A fleet management company should be able to provide fleet compliance for all regulations at any time. Can your company access vehicle registration, insurance, licensing, inspections and driving logs on demand, whenever necessary? If not, it’s a good idea to create a system where this is possible.
Updating computer and filing systems is one of the easiest ways to assure that compliance reports are always available, and good metric for judging how adept your current computer system is. Along with this, data security is also important, so make sure the right access control parameters are in place for accessing documents like these.
However, the best fleet management companies also know to keep watch for any upcoming changes in regulations that will affect the way they do business. That means having a strategy in place for watching what regulations are on their way to becoming law, and what long-term actions will need to be taken as a result.
Maintenance Ahead of the Curve
Maintenance is a given – but what does best practice maintenance look like? It focuses on prevention - maintenance plans that will minimize damage, accidents, and expensive replacements, saving the company significant money and improving greatly on downtime.
That means creating a diligent schedule of maintenance with strict checklists that are specifically designed for each unique type of vehicle in your fleet. The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) guidelines are a good place to start, but they aren’t always enough to deal with real-time risks and the latest developments.
Remember to take into account past repairs your fleet has had to deal with and how they can be reduced, as well as local factors like weather, road conditions, etc. With this information you’ll be able to create the thorough maintenance schedule that your company deserves.
The top fleet training programs are divided into two important parts. First is on-boarding, where new employees are trained to meet all compliance-related requirements and generally take care of the fleet, with specific training for their unique positions included. Second, is ongoing training, which keeps all personnel updated on the latest regulations, technology, and procedures necessary.
The second type of training in particular has plenty of room for growth, including certification programs to keep updated on important skills. This type of training not only helps attract more dedicated employees, but is also a powerful tool for marketing your company’s expertise and experience. But it’s not a one-time plan – ongoing training requires work to establish programs year after year.
Real Time Technology and Integrated IT
Fleet management companies can benefit greatly from the latest technology - if it’s properly implemented. Best practices in this area usually include real-time tracking (GPS functionality is important here), automatic logs and reservations for all fleet vehicles, automatic time clocks, and effective route-finding software.
However, such features need to be fully integrated and understood by personnel (additional training is usually necessary). It must also include rigorous security features that protect and encrypt data to avoid theft or compromise. This can all add up to a complex roll-out, so careful planning and experienced IT professionals are very important in this regard.
This is a very broad umbrella, but it’s also one of the most important best practices that a fleet management company can have: Put policies into place that are 1) unique to your own fleet and 2) designed to increase quality and efficiency.
This looks a little different for every company. For example, some companies may want to save money by creating policies against using certain types of high-octane fuels. Others may want to create policies that specifically address downtime, maintenance, or logging data to help become more efficient. Still other policies may limit personal mileage, mandate certain vehicle quantity on hand, or require certain safety/cleaning procedures. This type of robust policy creation really separates the best in the industry, and it’s an excellent practice to have!
Accessibility and ADA Compliance
The best fleet management companies are also ready for any accessibility needs. This is a great way to qualify for important contracts and open up new partnership possibilities. Is your fleet prepared to deal with passengers that need mobility services? What about, for example, those in wheelchairs?
Equipping a certain number of your vehicles with such accessibility features can open up a lot of new opportunities for you. Consider industries such as hotels, assisted living facilities, airports, campuses, and various types of medical transportation may all have need of fleet services that include key accessibility features. Fortunately, converting vehicles for accessibility (and related ADA compliance) does not have to be a laborious project.
Nor Cal Vans designs and builds transportation solutions that change people’s lives. We serve a broad range of industries with our innovative new and used van conversion options including government, education, airport/group transportation, non-emergency medical, secure transport, and refrigeration. We’ve been solving transportation needs for nearly four decades and strive to hold true to our values of teamwork, trust, accountability, growth and a positive attitude.